NOAA finds seven new corals to worry about

a bamboo coral that branches at the nodes and internodes

The real question  is: How long before Michael Mann does a ring study on it with RegEM to claim that the current pH of the ocean is “unprecedented”?

Contacts:                                                                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Christine Patrick, 301-734-1030                                                         March 5, 2009

Keeley Belva, 808-294-0932

New Deep-Sea Coral Discovered on NOAA-Supported Mission

Scientists identified seven new species of bamboo coral discovered on a NOAA-funded mission in the deep waters of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Six of these species may represent entirely new genera, a remarkable feat given the broad classification a genus represents. A genus is a major category in the classification of organisms, ranking above a species and below a family. Scientists expect to identify more new species as analysis of samples continues.

“These discoveries are important, because deep-sea corals support diverse seafloor ecosystems and also because these corals may be among the first marine organisms to be affected by ocean acidification,” said Richard Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA’s assistant administrator for Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Ocean acidification is a change in ocean chemistry due to excess carbon dioxide. Researchers have seen adverse changes in marine life with calcium-carbonate shells, such as corals, because of acidified ocean water.

“Deep-sea bamboo corals also produce growth rings much as trees do, and can provide a much-needed view of how deep ocean conditions change through time,” said Spinrad.

Rob Dunbar, a Stanford University scientist, was studying long-term climate data by examining long-lived corals. “We found live, 4,000-year-old corals in the Monument – meaning 4,000 years worth of information about what has been going on in the deep ocean interior.”

“Studying these corals can help us understand how they survive for such long periods of time as well as how they may respond to climate change in the future,” said Dunbar.

Among the other findings were a five-foot tall yellow bamboo coral tree that had never been described before, new beds of living deepwater coral and sponges, and a giant sponge scientists dubbed the “cauldron sponge,” approximately three feet tall and three feet across. Scientists collected two other sponges which have not yet been analyzed but may represent new species or genera as well.

The mission also discovered a “coral graveyard” covering about 10,000 square feet on a seamount’s summit, more than 2,000 feet deep. Scientists estimated the death of the community occurred several thousand to potentially more than a million years ago, but did not know why the community died. The species of coral had never been recorded in Hawaii before, according a Smithsonian Institution coral expert they consulted.

Finding new species was not an express purpose of the research mission, but Dunbar and Christopher Kelley, a scientist with the University of Hawaii, both collected specimens that looked unusual. Kelley’s objective was to locate and predict locations of high density deep-sea coral beds in the Monument. NOAA scientist Frank Parrish also led a portion of the mission, focusing on growth rates of deep-sea corals.

The three-week research mission ended in November 2007, but analysis of specimens is ongoing. “The potential for more discoveries is high, but these deep-sea corals are not protected everywhere as they are here, and can easily be destroyed,” said Kelley.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument has more deep water than any other U.S. protected area, with more than 98 percent below SCUBA-diving depths and only accessible to submersibles. The Hawaii Undersea Research Laboratory, sponsored by NOAA and the University of Hawaii, piloted the Pisces V submersible from a research vessel to the discovery sites, between 3300 and 4200 feet deep.

Funding for the mission was provided by NOAA through the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research. Identification of the corals was provided by Les Watling at the University of Hawaii.

The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is administered jointly by the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior, and the State of Hawaii and represents a cooperative conservation approach to protecting the entire ecosystem.

NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration explores the Earth’s largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge, using state-of-the-art technologies.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit www.noaa.gov

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40 thoughts on “NOAA finds seven new corals to worry about

  1. Just discovered, already “threatened.”
    “We don’t know anything about them” said one scientist associated with the find “but we’re sure man-made global warming is killing them. We wouldn’t know that, of course, if the corals themselves hadn’t grown into a formation which reads, from above, ‘CO2 is killing us!'”
    “We don’t know how it is they learned to speak English, or why the remainder of the corals grew into a graph of a hockey stick, but we’re looking into it,” he concluded.

  2. “Scientists estimated the death of the community occurred several thousand to potentially more than a million years ago, but did not know why the community died.” . . . “We found live, 4,000-year-old corals in the Monument – meaning 4,000 years worth of information about what has been going on in the deep ocean interior.”
    That million year time frame contains extreme swings in climate. Expressed in terms of sea level variation, the sea level has ranged from 125 meters lower than now (deepest Ice Age) to a level 5 meters higher than now (Eemian Interglacial maximum). The Vostock Ice Core data record a similar range of extremes in CO2 variation. The 4,000 year time frame contains dramatic swings in climate with sea level ranges from 2 meters lower than present to a bit more than 3 meters higher than now.
    The carbon cap-and-trade promoters as well as the AGW alarmists need to understand that the variations seen in recent 30-year ice extent data sets, 100-year direct observation temperatures, and satellite-derived sea level data are miniscule and essentially meaningless in the context of the historical climate and natural variation.

  3. A boot time, I think the government needs to fund these conservation measures in areas we don’t know exist, and save the dying species we haven’t discovered yet that are already feeling the stress and effects in alarming great numbers from global warming.
    Scientists using a new method of computer modeling have already calculated the numbers of unknown species that we may never know by the year 2100. And I’m sorry to report, their existence doesn’t look good.

  4. If the colony is a million years dead, AGW may not be to blame. Do corals have tree rings? Are they strip-bark corals?
    I think NOAA’s out of its depths on this one.

  5. IMHO any discovery of new sea-life and corals is exciting, it means that once again man should be humbled by the fact that even though many say we have over-populated the earth, learned its ecological systems, laid it bare and poisoned it all .. that any reminder to science that there is so much remaining to be discovered is something I find refreshing.

  6. P Folkens (19:41:15) :
    Thank you for the clearly written analysis, and reminder of the time scale under discussion.

  7. As a percentage of the diameter, the outer rings appear to be thinning!
    Additional studies and many more trips in the fun, deep-sea mini-sub are
    necessary! Don’t worry; we’ll mention acidification, acid death, carbon
    disfigurement, accelerated degradation, womb, cradle of life, poison, and
    …….the necessity to act now!

  8. Of course they are threatened by AGW, most things are. The Global Financial Crisis was caused by AGW, so was the war in Iraq, the Austrlian cricket team series loss to New Zealand and South Africa……… You name it it if it is a disaster it can be linked to global warming (woops I mean climate change)

  9. D. King (21:21:51) :
    Come on now, don’t beat about the bush. Tell us what you really think. Just how much of a blind screaming panic should we anticipate from this?

  10. Oh and,
    We should also be paying an environmental tax on the species we have killed without knowing.
    First step, stop all sterilization being done to our planet, bacteria and viruses are dying at the rate of billions a day, putting their ecosystem at extreme peril.
    We need to return their habitat back to pre 1320s times, when they roamed the world free and before human chemicals and practices caused such devastation.
    On a sad note, most of these incredible life forms are already extinct, and soon, more will fallow.
    It’s an alarming page ripped from the history of human destruction of habitat, a monolithic marker of mans many malicious maneuvers to manipulate matter.
    Please stop these actions before it’s to late and we hit the tipping point, where human life is held above the simplest of life forms, just to make money and live another day.

  11. Translation:
    NOAA today issued a 14 paragraph press release to announce the discovery of seven new species of bamboo coral — a year and a half ago.
    The last 5 paragraphs of the release listed all the important players in this research so that they can now queue up for additional funding.
    The release does not mention what, if anything, has been learned in the past year and a half, but they sure can write a might pretty press release! {For those of you for whom English is the primary (or only) language, that’s a might purdy press release!}
    Of the remaining nine paragraphs, four paragraphs make the case for the importance of this study in the furtherance of the AGW agenda by mentioning climate change {got to get that one in somewhere} and by using the less correct but more explosive term, ‘ ocean acidification’ {‘seawater neutralization’ would be more accurate, but wouldn’t do much to prime the money pump}.
    The rest of the release was mostly say-nothing verbiage padding and bureaucratic posturing.

  12. “The mission also discovered a “coral graveyard” covering about 10,000 square feet on a seamount’s summit, more than 2,000 feet deep. Scientists estimated the death of the community occurred several thousand to potentially more than a million years ago, but did not know why the community died.”
    Well, it could have been the dying of a hydrothermal vent that those coral depended on for survival. Could have been the end of the ice age and the increase of 400 more feet of ocean above them. Which reminds me … I get a little tickled when I hear about people talking about how fragile the Great Barrier Reef is and I think that 12, 000 or so years ago, that reef was dead as a doornail and hundreds of feet above sea level. That entire reef dies every 100K years or so when the sea levels drop and expose it to air and sun.

  13. crosspatch (00:14:16) :
    I get a little tickled when I hear about people talking about how fragile the Great Barrier Reef is and I think that 12, 000 or so years ago, that reef was dead as a doornail and hundreds of feet above sea level. That entire reef dies every 100K years or so when the sea levels drop and expose it to air and sun.

    So do you think we should do nothing and wait for another 10,000 years for biodiversity to recover once the reefs biodivirsity is reduced? I’m sure the fishing industries that rely on the fish that use the current complex diversity of the reefs as nurseries won’t mind waiting…will they?

  14. Mary — I for one am opposed to waiting in a paralyzed fashion for the next glaciation. Which we know will kill the Great Barrier Reef as well as bury Chicago, Montreal, and other northerly cities in mile-deep ice sheets.
    Warmer is Better. Fight the Ice.

  15. Padraic Murphy and Andrew Fraser | December 17, 2008
    Article from: The Australian
    “THE Greens reckon the Great Barrier Reef is a casualty of Labor’s lower-than-expected emissions reduction target, but for those who work among the corals, forecasts aren’t so bleak.
    Furthermore, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh reckons the reef’s future depends as much on what happens in other countries decisions made in Canberra.
    Shark expert Ben Cropp said yesterday the outer reef was more or less the same as when he started diving 50 years ago, although more accessible corals had been damaged. Patrick Ligthart, a volunteer with the Low Isles Preservation Society, said his section of the reef had never looked better, and he was sceptical about predictions of its demise.”
    OK, different reef, but. Maybe I’m just one of the unhinged people, but am I supposed to believe the usual panic merchants or these who spend their working lives on the reefs.?
    AM

  16. Seems like the reef is more threatened by NOAA dredging up samples vs AGW. If it’s taken then 18 months to sort thru samples and they’re not done yet, how much of the reef did they destroy during collection of their sample set? It’s nice how they even killed one that was 4000 years old. What if it was the sole survivor of that generation?

  17. This is a really cool discovery that shows once again how oblivious we are to the world we live in. I am so tired of the eco-babble about dying species, the vast majority of every living thing spawned on this planet is DEAD, and was so prior to humans.
    “stop all sterilization being done to our planet, bacteria and viruses are dying…We need to return their habitat back to pre 1320s times”,
    when we could be hosts to the plague and its ilk, madness.

  18. I think the coral is in more danger from the guys who come along and hack off chunks of it than from AGW. If this is a new species that is only found in one place in the world, it should be protected from the scientist.

  19. “It’s nice how they even killed one that was 4000 years old.”
    And it was a sponge!!! It may have been Sponge Bob’s great great, etc. grandfather!!!
    If the NOAA understands so much why did they have to murder this precious life form?? He wasn’t hurting anyone…

  20. Once a man was walking along a beach. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and and the beach. Back and forth this person went. As the man approached he could see that there were hundreds of starfish stranded on the sand as the result of the natural action of the tide.
    The man was stuck by the the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish. Many of them were sure to perish. As he approached the person continued the task of picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf.
    As he came up to the person he said, “You must be crazy. There are thousands of miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make a difference.” The person looked at the man. He then stooped down and pick up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, “It sure made a difference to that one!”
    Mary, this sounds like a good job for you!

  21. Leon Brozyna (23:56:51) :
    {For those of you for whom English is the primary (or only) language, that’s a might purdy press release!}
    Thats “mite purty”….watch your spelling [evil grin]
    From the swamp…cdl

  22. A few weeks ago I was watching a program on the Southwest and the Grand Canyon (National Geographic or Discovery–don’t remember). There are some huge sections of land out there that have never been seen/studied. Before anyone could possibly even consider putting foot to ground in this one area, the greenies were out there hunting around and cataloging everything they could find.
    One girl actually said to the camera ‘I’m sure there must be an unknown species around here somewhere that we can protect’.

  23. Mary Hinge wrote:

    So do you think we should do nothing and wait for another 10,000 years for biodiversity to recover once the reefs biodivirsity is reduced? I’m sure the fishing industries that rely on the fish that use the current complex diversity of the reefs as nurseries won’t mind waiting…will they?

    Why, no! I think we should bomb the reef to speed the recovery of reef biodiversity.
    Coral flourishing at Bikini Atoll atomic test site

  24. A few years back at a conference in Australia I saw a presentation of Mg/Ca thermometry in deep (1000-2000m) corals in the Southern Ocean by Dr. Ron Thresher of the CSIRO Marine Research in Tasmania. They collected both live and dead corals and sectioned and did microanalysis on quite a few samples to work out differences in incorporation of Mg/Ca in growth rings which can be correlated with water temperature (see: Oceanic evidence of climate change in southern Australia over the last three centuries, R Thresher, SR Rintoul, JA Koslow, C Weidman, J, VOL. 31, L07212 – Geophysical Research Letters, 2004 ).
    Although I have not yet seen the full work published yet, my recollection is that they were able to piece together a history back to well over 1000 years by using live and dead corals akin to the way tree rings are used. According to their results, over that time the deep Southern Ocean has been cooling. Interestingly they also see overlaid with long term cooling, “apparent 7-11 year and 40-60 year periodicities in water temperature.” (see: C.M. MacRae, et al., Temperature Dependence of Mg/Ca Deposition in Keratoisis sp., Microscopy and Microanalysis Microanalysis 12 (Suppl 2, conference proceedings), 850CD, 2006).

  25. “A Coral graveyard”. All those beautiful corals MURDERED by CO2 deniers!!.
    But if killed by CO2 sea acidification by increased amounts of CO2 dissolved in water= decreased water temperatures…They bite their tails!
    Speaking seriously: It is just local geothermal conditions, and a good pretext for enjoying free and well paid divings in a tropical paradise. (Really good luck of some!).

  26. Six of these species may represent entirely new genera, a remarkable feat given the broad classification a genus represents.

    Ooh, oooh! They found at least one whole new genus! What subliterate wrote this press-release? They should have learned what genera are in grade school, and why it’s so utterly inconsequential to find a few on a major zoological expedition in under-explored territories!

  27. Just like the coral, mankind will adapt to the next ice age. We will surely develp technologies to help us adapt… it’s not like the glaciers will advance overnight!

  28. So when we find a new species is that a net gain or does it immediately add to a endangered list. So if three die out and seven are found thats a net gain right. BTW anyone know of any animal that has died out in the last 25 years?

  29. Jim Arndt (10:19:44) :
    BTW anyone know of any animal that has died out in the last 25 years?
    The dusky seaside sparrow went extinct here in Florida around 1990…that one I know off the top of my head…a few others I would have to google.
    from the swamp…cdl

  30. Two aspects of this article really bother me:
    “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, …..” This is untrue, as they are striving for comprehension on the incredible diversity and lack of understanding “from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun…”.
    Finally, the sheer time scale described on living 4,000 year old coral, the manner in which deep ocean “mixes” and the rate in which it happens. 30 years isn’t even a factor with regards to this coral.

  31. Jim Arndt (10:19:44) :

    Unfortunately it is a long process before confirming that an animal is extinct. If a particular organism is very distinctive in form/colour and habit then it becomes easier to confirm if an organism is extinct or not. The Costa Rican Holdridge Toad Bufo holdridgeiis an example of this. It had a bright orange and black colouration and predictable behaviour. This was a locally common species that was declared endangered in 2006 and declared extinct last year. the Costa Rican Orange Toad Incilius periglenesis also extinct, again this used to be a locally common species. In Hawaii many species of thethe land snails of the genus Achatinella are either extinct, endangered or the last few members of the species are kept in captive housing.
    Add to the list the Zanzibar Leopard Panthera pardus adersi
    in 1996
    The Pyrenean Ibex Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica in 2000
    The Black-faced Honeycreeper Melamprosops phaeosoma in 2004.
    The Madeiran Large White Butterfly Pieris brassicae wollastoni in 2007
    There are many more recorded, and a lot more than this unrecorded. Each of the extinct organisms will have other organisms that can only live with that particular species, such as lice, bacteria etc, these will also be extinct and may never have been recorded.
    Many organisms have suffered huge population crashes, they may not have the population to continue. In the last 35 years there has been a decline of 37% in biodiversity http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn13915-global-biodiversity-slumps-27-in-35-years.html
    An excellent book on the subject of extinctions is Edward O Wilson’s work ‘The Future of Life’. This man has been my inspiration and I would recommend any of his works for an excellent overview of life on this planet (especially ants!)

  32. Is there a single benign or beneficial bacteria, plant, bug, fish, amphibian, reptile, bird, or mammal that may not have been hurt by AGW?
    Is there a single virus, pestilence, infection, toxic mold, poison plant, invasive species, or mental disorder that may not have been increased by AGW?
    An easy way to spot pure unadulterated bilge water is to spot the word “may” as in the article at the top, “these corals …may… be among the first marine organisms to be affected by ocean acidification”
    Or they may not.

  33. Jim Arndt (10:19:44) :

    BTW anyone know of any animal that has died out in the last 25 years?

    Honestus Taxfundis Scientifica.

  34. Mary Hinge (13:05:32) :
    New Scientist
    Global picture
    Ground-living vertebrates have declined by 25%.
    The results were released as part of a WWF report,

    Pure propaganda in a glossy magazine by the favored mouth piece of the enviro disciples.

  35. MartinGAtkins (02:35:51) :

    Do you honestly believe that the following has no effect on the worlds biodiversity; habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and human population growth. Studies time and time again show that these factors have major effects on biodiversity.
    I suggest before commentating on this subject you take some time to actually read up on it first. A good starting place would be to google Hawaii and native wildlife.
    Like it or not we are all connected with other living organisms and the loss of one species can have an immediate effect on many others.
    Maybe you should think beyond your own back yard and think about what kind of world we are leaving behind for future generations, or maybe you just don’t care.

  36. Mary Hinge (03:23:21) All the things you list add to biodiversity. A static eco-system will minimize biodiversity, change leads to change, it’s nature’s way of surviving. Over 90% of every species that has existed is dead. It happened without humans.

  37. Mary Hinge (03:23:21) :

    Do you honestly believe that the following has no effect on the worlds biodiversity; habitat loss, invasive species, pollution and human population growth. Studies time and time again show that these factors have major effects on biodiversity.

    I’m at a loss to see how you can make such a leap of logic. I questioned the factual content of an report commissioned by the WWF and reported New Scientist. Do you really believe ground-living vertebrates have declined by 25%
    with most of the slump occurring since 1980? Do you even know what a vertebrate is?
    I’m well aware of the pressure that Mankind is placing on the environment and am concerned. I’m a conservationist and believe we must give large tracts of terrain to wild unrestrained evolutionary progression. We must also take into account the needs of humanity. So I’m sick to death of this manic fixation the loathsome politicised enviro Marxists have with CO2.
    They are draining funds needed for conservation and trying to drag wealthy countries into poverty. We can only tackle these problems from a position of strength. Try and be altruistic when you’re hungry, cold and your children are sick. Your friends are working toward forcing people into desperation and when people are desperate the won’t give a flying fig about your mother Earth.

  38. Every bad thing that was blamed on humans in the past is now being blamed on CO2 and fossil fuels, because without cheap energy there will be far fewer humans, except the few million eco-evolved humans, of course.
    Welcome to paradise.

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